This year I made my health a priority and really tried (and continue to try) to make permanent changes as far as what I eat and how I exercise. One of the coolest things so far has been noticing what my body wants.
Prior to really listening to my body I recall either feeling overly full, starving, or just feeling big. Now I pay a lot more attention to the little things and I take the time to think things through. I admit that I will still binge on Oreos every now and then, but most of the time I’ll think, “I want something sweet – what sounds good?” Maybe the answer is Oreos, or maybe the answer is fresh strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate. Or maybe it’s some herbal tea. Or maybe it’s nothing at all and I’m just thirsty.
I’ve really enjoyed listening and taking notice of these little details. Here are a few:
Sometimes things don’t taste good. Everyone has foods they like or don’t like. This is different. I love Greek yogurt. I’ve always liked yogurt, but stopped eating it around 4-5 years ago when I finally realized I was lactose intolerant. Then Jonathan and my mom both pushed me to try Lactaid (don’t know why I was so resistant – it works) and since then I’ve been enjoying yogurt again. A common breakfast for me is Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, and chia seeds. Maybe include some honey, or some pistachios, or other fruit. The options are limitless. For a sweet treat, I also like Greek yogurt with dark chocolate chips.
One day I was at work, eating my breakfast, and realized my yogurt tasted like glue. It was so gross. I couldn’t finish it. Nothing was wrong with the yogurt, it was just that particular day my body was like, “Nah, you don’t want this.”
The same thing happens to me with coffee. Some days it is an absolute necessity. Some days all I want is water. Other days I want tea. Instead of automatically making coffee every morning, I take a second to ask myself what I really want.
Sometimes I’m not really hungry. Some mornings I don’t feel hungry, but because I know I’ll feel sluggish later, I usually try to eat something yummy in the morning. Other times I know Jonathan wants a meat and potatoes dinner, but I’d rather have something light, like soup. There are times where I’m just not craving a big meal – or anything at all. I don’t force it.
Sometimes I’m really hungry. On the other hand – there are times where I am super hungry and I cannot have something to eat fast enough. If I had a light dinner and I didn’t eat anything else after 7 or 8pm, I might wake up in the morning famished. When this happens I try not to grab the first thing I see (although sometimes it is a quick protein bar) – I try to make a decent meal.
Sometimes I’m really thirsty – for water. I don’t like feeling thirsty. It is one of the things I’ve noticed this year. I would much rather have to get up and go to the bathroom 100 times instead of having a dry mouth and throat, and feel raspy. Bring on the water.
Sometimes I feel sluggish and bloated. Especially when it is that time of month. I’ve learned to forgive myself during this time – each month there are going to be a few rough days. It is what it is. On those days I embrace PJs, blankets, tea, bed, puppies, all around coziness.
There are other times of the month I feel sluggish and bloated, too – it isn’t pleasant. Usually if I feel this way it is because I need something healthy to eat, I’m thirsty, I need to get up and move, or I’m tired. A walk around the neighborhood with the dogs often does the trick.
Sometimes I really want something green. Jonathan and I went to Milwaukee for a quick getaway earlier this year and we enjoyed some yummy food and drinks at different restaurants and breweries. But after a weekend of only eating out, when we got back on Sunday I made a vegetarian dish for dinner – purely because it was what sounded good.
After a lot of fat, grease, sugar, carbohydrates (deliciousness) all my body wanted was something green and fresh. If you had told me last year that I would naturally crave vegetables, I would have had this reaction:
This year I started following a bunch of health and wellness folks on Instagram and Twitter. One person I’ve followed for a few years now is Taryn Brumfitt. She started the Body Image Movement, wrote an amazing book, and is currently spreading the word about her documentary, Embrace. (I can’t wait to see it!)
I came across the below post by Taryn a week or so ago and I love it. It is what inspired me to write this – it got me thinking about what I hear when I listen to my body. My body is magical and remarkable and can do so much. Instead of beating myself up over fat here, cellulite there, dry skin here, pimples there, I should just love it. It can walk, jog, stretch, bend, sit, stand, squat, cook, bake, type, read – you get the idea. It can do so much! Like Taryn, I listen to what it wants and how it likes to be nourished. And I’m so glad that I do.
Please take a moment to learn more about the Body Image Movement and Embrace (it’s really important), but also take a second each day to ask yourself what your body needs and wants. I guarantee it will give you an answer.
PS: Back in the day in high school I used to weightlift and the most I ever deadlifted was 205 pounds. I was so psyched. #proudmoment